Senate Democrats blocked a resolution disapproving the Iran nuclear deal for a third time Thursday, sealing a major foreign policy victory for President Obama.
Senators voted 56-42 against ending debate on the resolution of disapproval, falling short of the 60 votes needed on the procedural motion.
GOP Sens. Rand PaulRand PaulWe can put America first by preventing public health disasters Conservative activists want action from Trump McConnell: 'Big challenge' to pass ObamaCare repeal in Senate MORE (Ky.) and Marco RubioMarco RubioTop Trump officials push border wall as government shutdown looms Rubio defends Trump: 'This whole flip-flop thing is a political thing' Rubio: Shutdown would have 'catastrophic impact' on global affairs MORE (Fla.) missed the vote, while Sens. Ted CruzTed CruzKansas Republican sworn in after special election Overnight Finance: Dems want ObamaCare subsidies for extra military spending | Trade battle: Woe, Canada? | Congress nears deal to help miners | WH preps to release tax plan Cruz: Seize money from drug lords to fund border wall MORE (Texas) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamOvernight Defense: US moving missile defense system to South Korea | Dems want justification for Syria strike | Army pick pushes back against critics of LGBT record Graham: There are 'no good choices left' with North Korea Graham: North Korea shouldn't underestimate Trump MORE (S.C.) voted to end debate. All four took part in Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate in California.
The vote came just hours ahead of the deadline for lawmakers to pass a resolution on the deal. With neither chamber of Congress expected to take another vote on Iran, the administration is poised to protect the agreement after months of intense lobbying aimed at solidifying Democratic support.
Opponents of the deal appeared to acknowledge defeat ahead of Thursday's vote.
"This agreement is moving forward, we all know that," Cardin, the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said, adding that lawmakers should now focus on next steps to strengthen the agreement.
Sen. Bob CorkerBob CorkerThe Hill's 12:30 Report Senate Foreign Relations chair: Erdogan referendum win 'not something to applaud' Groups warn of rural health 'crisis' under ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Tenn.), who spearheaded legislation that allows for Congress to debate and vote on the agreement, added that Republicans understand that "42 senators are causing a filibuster to take place and that we're not every going to be able to get to that vote on conscience.”
Republicans argue that Democrats are blocking the resolution in an effort to protect Obama from having to use a veto, something he's only had to use four times while in office.
Thursday's vote comes after Democrats previously blocked the resolution of disapproval from moving forward twice. Republicans had hoped that by staging repeat votes they could pressure at least two more Democrats to buck Obama and vote against the deal.
But Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidWeek ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road 'Tuesday Group' turncoats must use recess to regroup on ObamaCare MORE (D-Nev.) suggested that Republicans were wasting precious floor time with only a handful of working days left ahead of an end-of-the-month deadline to avoid a government shutdown.
Reid previously offered to let the Senate move to a final vote on the Iran nuclear deal if Republicans would agree to setting a 60-vote threshold for final passage.
While McConnell rejected the deal, it's gained at least one Republican supporter: Sen. Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeTrump wall faces skepticism on border No Congress members along Mexico border support funding Trump's wall Obama-linked group launches ads targeting Republicans on immigration MORE (R-Ariz.), who said he wants to take a final vote "and not just have endless cloture votes."
"Take it," he said, referring to Reid's offer. "Let's get to a final vote. We've seen the end of this movie already."
But McConnell appeared to be sticking to his strategy — even after his attempt to force a tough vote on Democrats failed.
"Democrats have chosen to deny the Senate a final vote on the president's deal with Iran. They made their choice," he said. "Democrats ensured that this would be not just Obama's deal with Iran, but the Democratic Party's deal with Iran, too."